2015 Annual Recap

“This year it has been incredible to see the growth of sports analytics both in breadth and depth” conference chair Jessica Gelman exclaimed to kick off the 2015 Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. Continuing as the preeminent sports industry conference, SSAC15 also grew in breadth and depth as it pushed out the limits of data analytics and sport, delivering two days of groundbreaking innovation and discussion. The conference welcomed three commissioners: NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, and MLS Commissioner Don Garber, once again highlighting the growing acceptance of sports analytics. Future of Sports Media panel The much anticipated 2015 conference brought together leading sports innovators, influencers and technologies at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center February 27-28. The ninth annual conference drew more than 3,200 attendees (a 50% growth from 2014), representing over 100 professional teams and 300 sports industry organizations. Featuring 29 panels and 15 Competitive Advantage presentations, the conference delved into themes for every fan and industry professional with topics ranging from early analytic adopters, player contract negotiations, entrepreneurship, sports betting, the future of sports media, the value of digital media for fan engagement, adapting and expanding the game for the modern fan and the future of sports analytics. Attendees enjoyed insights from Shane Battier and Sue Bird equating data analytics to another tool in their arsenal similar to a jump shot or strength training; Commissioner Silver, Jonathan Kraft and Marie Donoghue shared their unique vision on media rights and the ever-changing landscape of fan consumption; and SSAC veterans Brian Burke, Nate Silver, RC Buford and Scott Pioli got into heated discussions about how much to attribute the improvement of sports to analytics and how analytics will contribute to the future of sport over the next 5-10 years Other conference speakers included industry veterans such as Wyc Grousbeck, Sean Payton, Oliver Luck, Bob Myers, Jackie MacMullan and many more. Innovatorspanel2The SSAC research paper competition continued to remain at the forefront of sports analytics research and showcased some of the most exciting and cutting-edge developments in the theory and practice of sports analytics. Several teams of researchers and academics presented their findings to a panel of expert judges, who produced a split outcome, with two teams sharing the first-place prize. The first team, a group of statisticians at Harvard University, introduced “Counterpoints,” a framework for quantifying basketball players’ defensive contributions based on their ability to suppress and alter shots. The second team, a duo of analysts at Baseball Info Solutions, developed a method to quantify and more finely assign credit for pitch framing to catchers, batters, pitchers and umpires. The conference featured two inaugural and fully interactive events: the Data Science and Visualization Zone presented by Booz Allen Hamilton and the SSAC Hackathon presented by ESPN’s Stats & Info Group. The Data Science and Visualization Zone included groundbreaking technological demos, conversation areas, and presentations. The SSAC Hackathon featured students from top universities competing for a coveted internship with ESPN as well as professionals from industry leading companies. Participants analyzed and presented innovative ways to visualize NFL data in order to improve the fan and media experience. The conference continued to be a leading recruiting and hiring tool for the sports industry. Lines were out the door early Saturday morning for “Career Conversations” as students met 1-1 with sports business leaders to learn about roles in the sports industry, followed by a panel on breaking into the coveted industry. SSAC 2015 built on the successes of previous years’ conferences and continued to pioneer the field of sports analytics. With its original content, invited speakers and showcase of advanced technological innovations, SSAC 2015 once again set the industry conference standard in sports analytics.

Panels

  • Measuring the Impact of Branding & Sponsorship
    Chris Granger, John Harper, Sam Kennedy, Brian Lafemina, Amy Latimer, John Walsh,
  • Beat the Odds: Anatomy of the Upset
    Roland Beech, Pete D’Alessandro, Zak DeOssie,
  • The Future of the Game
    R.C. Buford, Scott Pioli, Nate Silver, Andrea Kremer,
  • The New Blocking and Tackling: Applying Data in Professional Football (Presented by Catapult)
    The New Blocking and Tackling: Applying Data in Professional Football (Presented by Catapult), Howie Roseman, Robert Mays,
  • Changing on the Fly: The State of Advanced Analytics in the NHL
    Tyler Dellow, Kyle Dubas, Dallas Eakins, James Mirtle, Frank Provenzano, Katie Baker,
  • Book It: Legalizing Sports Betting
    Book It: Legalizing Sports Betting, David Purdum, Ryan Rodenberg, Dan Spillane, Chad Millman,
  • Poets and Quants: How Analytics Has Changed Sports Journalism
    Howard Beck, Carl Bialik, Peter King, Dan Shanoff,
  • Show Me the Money: Agents and Negotiations (Presented by Ropes & Gray)
    Dan Adams, Daryl Morey, Bob Myers, Scott Rosner, Arn Tellem, Deepak Malhotra,
  • Ticketing Analytics: Technology and Data Meet Ticketing
    Kelly Cheeseman, Robert Gallo, Athena Maikish, Anthony Perez, Kurt Schwartzkopf, Patrick Rishe,
  • Beating the Shift: Baseball Analytics in the Age of Big Data
    Sandy Alderson, Dan Brooks, Dave Cameron, Ben Lindbergh, Jonah Keri,
  • Wearable Technology: Athlete Analytics (Presented by Zebra)
    Andrew Hawkins, Brian Kopp, Kirk Lacob, Eric Petrosinelli, Brian Russell, Mark McClusky,
  • Finding the Digital Fan
    Amy Brooks, Brian Cusack, Mike Derezin, John Forese, Jennifer van Dijk, Ben Shields,
  • Career Panel: What’s Your Game Plan? (Presented by KORE Software)
    Kristie Blasi, Andrew Rentmeester, Evan Wasch, Mike Zarren, Matt Sebal, Megan Morgan,
  • Sharing, Liking, Streaming: The Future of Sports and Media
    Adam Silver, Sharing, Liking, Streaming: The Future of Sports and Media, Jonathan Kraft, Bonnie Bernstein,
  • The Formula to Win: College Football Analytics
    Bill Connelly, James Franklin, The Formula to Win: College Football Analytics, Tom Luginbill, Rachel Nichols,
  • Commissioner’s Perspective: Growing Soccer with Don Garber
    Don Garber, Grant Wahl,
  • Sports Science: Performance Analytics (Presented by Catapult)
    John Brenkus, Joe Rogowski, Leslie Saxon, Adir Shiffman, Tom Haberstroh,
  • Amateurs or Industry: NCAA Reform
    Amateurs or Industry: NCAA Reform, Rod Thorn, Jim Phillips, Michael McCann, Warren Zola,
  • Business of Sports
    Phil de Picciotto, Sunil Gulati, Steve Pagliuca, Business of Sports, Jessica Gelman,
  • Sponsor Presentation (ESPN): Is Analytics Taking the Joy out of Sports?
    Benjamin Alamar, Sponsor Presentation (ESPN): Is Analytics Taking the Joy out of Sports?, John Anderson, Sponsor Presentation (ESPN): Is Analytics Taking the Joy out of Sports?,
  • Commissioner’s Perspective: 1:1 with Rob Manfred
    Rob Manfred, Brian Kenny,
  • Three At The Back: Accelerating the Pace of Soccer Analytics
    Chris Anderson, Angus McNab, Michael Niemeyer, Ravi Ramineni, Andrew Wiebe,
  • Sports Entrepreneurs and New Frontiers
    Wyc Grousbeck, Sports Entrepreneurs and New Frontiers, Jessica Gelman,
  • Sponsor Presentation (Zebra): NFL’s Next Generation Statistics
    Matt Birk, Marshall Faulk, Sean Payton, Vishal Shah, Jill Stelfox, Abe Madkour,
  • Valuing Franchises: How Sports Teams Break the DCF
    Lyle Ayes, Aswath Damodaran, Joseph McNulty, Randy Vataha, Abe Madkour,
  • If You Build It, They Will Come: Designing the Stadium of the Future
    Chris Granger, Tony Khan, Jon Knight, Shira Springer, If You Build It, They Will Come: Designing the Stadium of the Future,
  • Basketball Analytics – 2015: Push the Tempo
    Basketball Analytics – 2015: Push the Tempo, Basketball Analytics – 2015: Push the Tempo, Mike D’Antoni, Mike Zarren, Pablo Torre,
  • Sponsor Presentation (SAP): Technology Amplifies Success: How Analytics is Changing the Game
    Ryan Craig, Ben Davis, Michael Niemeyer, Frank Wheeler,
  • Innovators and Adopters
    Innovators and Adopters, Innovators and Adopters, Daryl Morey, Innovators and Adopters, Jackie MacMullan,
  • Video

  • Mark McClusky: Faster, Higher, Stronger: Science and Elite Performance
    Mark McClusky,
  • Kirk Goldsberry: Analytics Illustrated
    Kirk Goldsberry,
  • Glenn Fleisig: Analytics of the Tommy John Injury Epidemic
    Glenn Fleisig,
  • Research Paper Finals & Live Judging
  • How Analytics has Limited the Impact of Cognitive Bias on Personnel Decisions
    Kyle Dubas,
  • Shopping for Tickets with Advanced Analytics
    Steve Ritter,
  • Selling Out: Understanding the Path-to-Purchase for Sports Tickets
    Elyse Guilfoyle,
  • Counterpoints: Advanced Defensive Metrics for NBA Basketball
    Alexander Franks, Andy Miller, Luke Bornn, Kirk Goldsberry,
  • Graphical Model for Basketball Match Simulation
    Min-hwan Oh, Suraj Keshri, Garud Iyengar,
  • “Quality vs. Quantity”: Improved Shot Prediction in Soccer using Strategic Features from Spatiotemporal Data
    Patrick Lucey, Alina Bialkowski, Mathew Monfort, Peter Carr, Iain Matthews,
  • Alleviating Competitive Imbalance in NFL Schedules: An Integer-Programming Approach
    Murat Kurt, Mark Karwan, Niraj Kumar Pandey, Kyle Cunningham,
  • Diamonds on the Line: Profits through Investment Gaming
    Clayton Graham,
  • Evaluating the Effectiveness of Dynamic Pricing Strategies on MLB Single-Game Ticket Revenue
    Joseph Xu, Peter Fader, Senthil Veeraraghavan,
  • Assessing the Offensive Productivity of NHL Players Using In-game Win Probabilities
    Stephen Pettigrew,
  • Big League Business Intelligence: How the Texas Rangers are Using Tableau for Business Operations
    Sarah Stone, Katie Morgan,
  • Understanding Hispanic Fandom: Beyond the Myths
    Heidi Pellerano, Stefanie Francis,
  • Spring Forward: Understanding Spring Training Statistics
    Dan Rosenheck,
  • From Idea To Revenue: The Lifecycle Of Analytics
    Nik Bonaddio, Keith Goldner,
  • First Service: The Advent of Actionable Tennis Analytics
    Jeff Sackmann,
  • The Impact of Pressure on Performance: Evidence from the PGA Tour
    Neil Metz, Dan Hickman,
  • Daily Fantasy Sports: Tips from a DraftKings Pro
    Jason Robins, Peter Jennings,
  • How Digital Analytics are Changing the Game for NFL Club Websites
    Alissa Lieppman,
  • The New Blocking and Tackling: Applying Data in Professional Football (Presented by Catapult)
    The New Blocking and Tackling: Applying Data in Professional Football (Presented by Catapult), Howie Roseman, Robert Mays,
  • Changing on the Fly: The State of Advanced Analytics in the NHL
    Tyler Dellow, Kyle Dubas, Dallas Eakins, James Mirtle, Frank Provenzano, Katie Baker,
  • Book It: Legalizing Sports Betting
    Book It: Legalizing Sports Betting, David Purdum, Ryan Rodenberg, Dan Spillane, Chad Millman,
  • Poets and Quants: How Analytics Has Changed Sports Journalism
    Howard Beck, Carl Bialik, Peter King, Dan Shanoff,
  • Show Me the Money: Agents and Negotiations (Presented by Ropes & Gray)
    Dan Adams, Daryl Morey, Bob Myers, Scott Rosner, Arn Tellem, Deepak Malhotra,
  • Ticketing Analytics: Technology and Data Meet Ticketing
    Kelly Cheeseman, Robert Gallo, Athena Maikish, Anthony Perez, Kurt Schwartzkopf, Patrick Rishe,
  • Beating the Shift: Baseball Analytics in the Age of Big Data
    Sandy Alderson, Dan Brooks, Dave Cameron, Ben Lindbergh, Jonah Keri,
  • Wearable Technology: Athlete Analytics (Presented by Zebra)
    Andrew Hawkins, Brian Kopp, Kirk Lacob, Eric Petrosinelli, Brian Russell, Mark McClusky,
  • Finding the Digital Fan
    Amy Brooks, Brian Cusack, Mike Derezin, John Forese, Jennifer van Dijk, Ben Shields,
  • Career Panel: What’s Your Game Plan? (Presented by KORE Software)
    Kristie Blasi, Andrew Rentmeester, Evan Wasch, Mike Zarren, Matt Sebal, Megan Morgan,
  • Sharing, Liking, Streaming: The Future of Sports and Media
    Adam Silver, Sharing, Liking, Streaming: The Future of Sports and Media, Jonathan Kraft, Bonnie Bernstein,
  • The Formula to Win: College Football Analytics
    Bill Connelly, James Franklin, The Formula to Win: College Football Analytics, Tom Luginbill, Rachel Nichols,
  • Commissioner’s Perspective: Growing Soccer with Don Garber
    Don Garber, Grant Wahl,
  • Sports Science: Performance Analytics (Presented by Catapult)
    John Brenkus, Joe Rogowski, Leslie Saxon, Adir Shiffman, Tom Haberstroh,
  • Amateurs or Industry: NCAA Reform
    Amateurs or Industry: NCAA Reform, Rod Thorn, Jim Phillips, Michael McCann, Warren Zola,
  • Business of Sports
    Phil de Picciotto, Sunil Gulati, Steve Pagliuca, Business of Sports, Jessica Gelman,
  • Sponsor Presentation (ESPN): Is Analytics Taking the Joy out of Sports?
    Benjamin Alamar, Sponsor Presentation (ESPN): Is Analytics Taking the Joy out of Sports?, John Anderson, Sponsor Presentation (ESPN): Is Analytics Taking the Joy out of Sports?,
  • Commissioner’s Perspective: 1:1 with Rob Manfred
    Rob Manfred, Brian Kenny,
  • Three At The Back: Accelerating the Pace of Soccer Analytics
    Chris Anderson, Angus McNab, Michael Niemeyer, Ravi Ramineni, Andrew Wiebe,
  • Sports Entrepreneurs and New Frontiers
    Wyc Grousbeck, Sports Entrepreneurs and New Frontiers, Jessica Gelman,
  • Sponsor Presentation (Zebra): NFL’s Next Generation Statistics
    Matt Birk, Marshall Faulk, Sean Payton, Vishal Shah, Jill Stelfox, Abe Madkour,
  • Valuing Franchises: How Sports Teams Break the DCF
    Lyle Ayes, Aswath Damodaran, Joseph McNulty, Randy Vataha, Abe Madkour,
  • If You Build It, They Will Come: Designing the Stadium of the Future
    Chris Granger, Tony Khan, Jon Knight, Shira Springer, If You Build It, They Will Come: Designing the Stadium of the Future,
  • Basketball Analytics – 2015: Push the Tempo
    Basketball Analytics – 2015: Push the Tempo, Basketball Analytics – 2015: Push the Tempo, Mike D’Antoni, Mike Zarren, Pablo Torre,
  • Sponsor Presentation (SAP): Technology Amplifies Success: How Analytics is Changing the Game
    Ryan Craig, Ben Davis, Michael Niemeyer, Frank Wheeler,
  • Innovators and Adopters
    Innovators and Adopters, Innovators and Adopters, Daryl Morey, Innovators and Adopters, Jackie MacMullan,
  • Conference Year

  • Measuring the Impact of Branding & Sponsorship
    Chris Granger, John Harper, Sam Kennedy, Brian Lafemina, Amy Latimer, John Walsh,
  • Mark McClusky: Faster, Higher, Stronger: Science and Elite Performance
    Mark McClusky,
  • Kirk Goldsberry: Analytics Illustrated
    Kirk Goldsberry,
  • Glenn Fleisig: Analytics of the Tommy John Injury Epidemic
    Glenn Fleisig,
  • 2015 Startup Blitz Competition
    Bill Aulet, Bill Gurley, Jake Heller, Dan Shanoff,
  • Research Paper Finals & Live Judging
  • 2015 Research Paper Posters
  • Sabermetrics for the Fan
    Alex Cosmas, Tim Zue, Mike Dillon, John D. Hannick,
  • Envisioning the Next Generation in Sports Analytics
    Justin Hollander, Ray Hensberger, Ben Jarvis, Pavandeep Kalra,
  • Ideation Station: Consulting Office Hours
  • Building a Sports Dashboard Workshop (presented by Tableau)
  • Two Steps Forward and One Step Back: Challenges in Data Science and Visualization
  • Visualizing Sports Data
    Ben Fry,
  • How Analytics has Limited the Impact of Cognitive Bias on Personnel Decisions
    Kyle Dubas,
  • Shopping for Tickets with Advanced Analytics
    Steve Ritter,
  • Selling Out: Understanding the Path-to-Purchase for Sports Tickets
    Elyse Guilfoyle,
  • Counterpoints: Advanced Defensive Metrics for NBA Basketball
    Alexander Franks, Andy Miller, Luke Bornn, Kirk Goldsberry,
  • Graphical Model for Basketball Match Simulation
    Min-hwan Oh, Suraj Keshri, Garud Iyengar,
  • “Quality vs. Quantity”: Improved Shot Prediction in Soccer using Strategic Features from Spatiotemporal Data
    Patrick Lucey, Alina Bialkowski, Mathew Monfort, Peter Carr, Iain Matthews,
  • Alleviating Competitive Imbalance in NFL Schedules: An Integer-Programming Approach
    Murat Kurt, Mark Karwan, Niraj Kumar Pandey, Kyle Cunningham,
  • Diamonds on the Line: Profits through Investment Gaming
    Clayton Graham,
  • Evaluating the Effectiveness of Dynamic Pricing Strategies on MLB Single-Game Ticket Revenue
    Joseph Xu, Peter Fader, Senthil Veeraraghavan,
  • Assessing the Offensive Productivity of NHL Players Using In-game Win Probabilities
    Stephen Pettigrew,
  • NHL Ticketing: Strategic Ticket Analysis in the Changing Sports Landscape
    Scott Jablonski,
  • Big League Business Intelligence: How the Texas Rangers are Using Tableau for Business Operations
    Sarah Stone, Katie Morgan,
  • Understanding Hispanic Fandom: Beyond the Myths
    Heidi Pellerano, Stefanie Francis,
  • Spring Forward: Understanding Spring Training Statistics
    Dan Rosenheck,
  • From Idea To Revenue: The Lifecycle Of Analytics
    Nik Bonaddio, Keith Goldner,
  • First Service: The Advent of Actionable Tennis Analytics
    Jeff Sackmann,
  • Keep your Players on the Ice: Applying Catapult Data in Hockey to Reduce Injuries and Improve Performance
    Ben Peterson, Cal Dietz,
  • The Impact of Pressure on Performance: Evidence from the PGA Tour
    Neil Metz, Dan Hickman,
  • “Predictable” Dynamic Pricing: A More Effective Way of Pricing Tickets for Highly Anticipated Games
    Kevin Blue,
  • Daily Fantasy Sports: Tips from a DraftKings Pro
    Jason Robins, Peter Jennings,
  • How Digital Analytics are Changing the Game for NFL Club Websites
    Alissa Lieppman,
  • Beat the Odds: Anatomy of the Upset
    Roland Beech, Pete D’Alessandro, Zak DeOssie,
  • The Future of the Game
    R.C. Buford, Scott Pioli, Nate Silver, Andrea Kremer,
  • The New Blocking and Tackling: Applying Data in Professional Football (Presented by Catapult)
    The New Blocking and Tackling: Applying Data in Professional Football (Presented by Catapult), Howie Roseman, Robert Mays,
  • Changing on the Fly: The State of Advanced Analytics in the NHL
    Tyler Dellow, Kyle Dubas, Dallas Eakins, James Mirtle, Frank Provenzano, Katie Baker,
  • Book It: Legalizing Sports Betting
    Book It: Legalizing Sports Betting, David Purdum, Ryan Rodenberg, Dan Spillane, Chad Millman,
  • Poets and Quants: How Analytics Has Changed Sports Journalism
    Howard Beck, Carl Bialik, Peter King, Dan Shanoff,
  • Show Me the Money: Agents and Negotiations (Presented by Ropes & Gray)
    Dan Adams, Daryl Morey, Bob Myers, Scott Rosner, Arn Tellem, Deepak Malhotra,
  • Ticketing Analytics: Technology and Data Meet Ticketing
    Kelly Cheeseman, Robert Gallo, Athena Maikish, Anthony Perez, Kurt Schwartzkopf, Patrick Rishe,
  • Beating the Shift: Baseball Analytics in the Age of Big Data
    Sandy Alderson, Dan Brooks, Dave Cameron, Ben Lindbergh, Jonah Keri,
  • Wearable Technology: Athlete Analytics (Presented by Zebra)
    Andrew Hawkins, Brian Kopp, Kirk Lacob, Eric Petrosinelli, Brian Russell, Mark McClusky,
  • Finding the Digital Fan
    Amy Brooks, Brian Cusack, Mike Derezin, John Forese, Jennifer van Dijk, Ben Shields,
  • Career Panel: What’s Your Game Plan? (Presented by KORE Software)
    Kristie Blasi, Andrew Rentmeester, Evan Wasch, Mike Zarren, Matt Sebal, Megan Morgan,
  • Sharing, Liking, Streaming: The Future of Sports and Media
    Adam Silver, Sharing, Liking, Streaming: The Future of Sports and Media, Jonathan Kraft, Bonnie Bernstein,
  • The Formula to Win: College Football Analytics
    Bill Connelly, James Franklin, The Formula to Win: College Football Analytics, Tom Luginbill, Rachel Nichols,
  • Commissioner’s Perspective: Growing Soccer with Don Garber
    Don Garber, Grant Wahl,
  • Sports Science: Performance Analytics (Presented by Catapult)
    John Brenkus, Joe Rogowski, Leslie Saxon, Adir Shiffman, Tom Haberstroh,
  • Amateurs or Industry: NCAA Reform
    Amateurs or Industry: NCAA Reform, Rod Thorn, Jim Phillips, Michael McCann, Warren Zola,
  • Business of Sports
    Phil de Picciotto, Sunil Gulati, Steve Pagliuca, Business of Sports, Jessica Gelman,
  • Sponsor Presentation (ESPN): Is Analytics Taking the Joy out of Sports?
    Benjamin Alamar, Sponsor Presentation (ESPN): Is Analytics Taking the Joy out of Sports?, John Anderson, Sponsor Presentation (ESPN): Is Analytics Taking the Joy out of Sports?,
  • Commissioner’s Perspective: 1:1 with Rob Manfred
    Rob Manfred, Brian Kenny,
  • Three At The Back: Accelerating the Pace of Soccer Analytics
    Chris Anderson, Angus McNab, Michael Niemeyer, Ravi Ramineni, Andrew Wiebe,
  • Sports Entrepreneurs and New Frontiers
    Wyc Grousbeck, Sports Entrepreneurs and New Frontiers, Jessica Gelman,
  • Sponsor Presentation (Zebra): NFL’s Next Generation Statistics
    Matt Birk, Marshall Faulk, Sean Payton, Vishal Shah, Jill Stelfox, Abe Madkour,
  • Valuing Franchises: How Sports Teams Break the DCF
    Lyle Ayes, Aswath Damodaran, Joseph McNulty, Randy Vataha, Abe Madkour,
  • If You Build It, They Will Come: Designing the Stadium of the Future
    Chris Granger, Tony Khan, Jon Knight, Shira Springer, If You Build It, They Will Come: Designing the Stadium of the Future,
  • Basketball Analytics – 2015: Push the Tempo
    Basketball Analytics – 2015: Push the Tempo, Basketball Analytics – 2015: Push the Tempo, Mike D’Antoni, Mike Zarren, Pablo Torre,
  • Sponsor Presentation (SAP): Technology Amplifies Success: How Analytics is Changing the Game
    Ryan Craig, Ben Davis, Michael Niemeyer, Frank Wheeler,
  • Innovators and Adopters
    Innovators and Adopters, Innovators and Adopters, Daryl Morey, Innovators and Adopters, Jackie MacMullan,